Hodge Podge – Week 7 of the Herb CSA

As probably inferred from the title, this week’s parcel is a mash of fun and different items. Included are, Fennel Bulbs, Fresh Stevia, Lavender Salt, Lemon Verbena & Gardeners Soap. Enjoy!

Also included is a short survey, we’d love to have your feedback! Please return when you pick up week 8.


 

Fennel Bulb

Fennel is either loved or despised – the strong aniseed flavor leaves no room for the middle ground. From the same family as the herb and seed of the same name, it’s also known as Florence fennel, finocchio, or sweet fennel, is very popular in Italian cookery, and has a bulb-like shape that looks a little like a heavy-bottomed celery. When eaten raw, the texture is crisp and the flavor is quite assertive. Cooked, it’s softer and more mellow. Fennel is available all year round, but it’s best from the start of June to the end of September. If possible, go for the smaller, young bulbs, as they’re more tender. They should look white, with no blemishes, and feel heavy for their size. To prepare fennel, wash, then trim off the green tops (they can be used as a garnish). Slice off the shoots and root and peel off the tougher outer layer (if the bulb is particularly young and tender you can leave this layer on). To cook it whole, cut out the tough central core from the bottom, leaving a cone-shaped cavity, or slice if you prefer. Alternatively, chop into quarters and remove the core from each one (but not too much, or the quarters will fall apart). Fresh cut fennel should be wrapped in damp kitchen paper, placed in a perforated bag and stored in the fridge. It will last for up to three days. To cook, cut into very thin slices for salads (a mandolin is good for this). Boil or steam (up to 20 minutes for a whole head, or up to 12 minutes for wedges). Roast (40-50 minutes).

An old proverb of ours, which is still believed in New England, says, that “Sowing Fennel is sowing sorrow.”


Stevia

Stevia – During Week 2, Tea Time, we provided you with dried, powdered stevia, this week we will show you how to use fresh. Stevia is consumed around the world and has no safety concerns regarding its use, according to Drugs.com. In this week’s recipes, we show you how to make either an alcohol or water based Stevia extract. There are several ways to use your fresh Stevia leaves. The easiest way is to pick a couple of leaves, crush them a bit in your hand, and add them to a cup or pot while tea is steeping in hot water. Fresh leaves can be added to your ground coffee to sweeten the whole pot.

Leaves from the stevia plant are a diabetic-safe, low-calorie sweetener that is 100 to 300 times sweeter than sucrose.


Lavender

Lavender Salt – coarsely ground dried lavender and Mediterranean sea salt combine to make a fragrant and slight flavor enhancer. A few suggestions are:

-Chocolate. Lavender goes really well with both dark and white chocolate, and lightly salted chocolate is always a good thing. Try a sprinkle on pudding, mousse, cake, or fudge.

-Scallops. Mild shellfish like tender scallops go very well with florals. Finishing a lemony, buttery scallop dish with lavender salt is a spectacular finishing touch.

-Lamb chops. There is something magical about the combination of lavender and lamb. Of all the red meats, lamb carries the flowery flavor best of all. A little bit on your lamb chops is all you need.

-Fresh fruit. Try sprinkling papayas, berries, pineapples, and other fruit with lavender salt. The salt brings out the intense sweetness of the fruit while the lavender lightly perfumes it.

-Caramels or toffee. If you’re making homemade caramels or toffee, add a sprinkling of lavender salt for decoration and flavor.

-Margaritas. Give your margarita a twist by rimming the glass in lavender salt instead of plain salt.

-Lemony things. Lavender and lemon is a classic combination, whether you’re serving something savory or sweet.

-Roast chicken. Rub a bit under the skin with some butter before roasting, and prepare to be delighted.

At one time, Christians believed that lavender placed at the entrance of a home or in a keyhole would repel ghosts and protect against the evil eye. That reputation as a talisman against evil extended to lavender being a popular herb for festivals like the St. John’s Day Festival.


Lemon Verbena

 Lemon verbena leaves are used to add a lemon flavor to fish and poultry dishes, vegetable marinades, salad dressings, jams, puddings, Greek yogurt and beverages. It also is used to make herbal teas, or added to standard tea in place of actual lemon (as is common with Moroccan tea). It can also be used to make a sorbet. You’ll often see lemon verbena as a scent ingredient in soaps and perfumes. Lemon verbena is an ideal choice for simple syrups you can drizzle over fruit, mix into whipped cream or add to cocktails. A great way to enjoy the flavor is a refreshing herbal & floral ice cream.

You can spot this herb in almost every cup of tea ordered in France. This beautiful herb not only adds a light lemony flavor, but also gives the tea a beautiful green color.


#1

Gardeners Soap – This, as all soaps offered by Bailiwick Farm, was produced in house by Becky. This lovely soap contains a plethora of nourishing and natural ingredients. It’s soothing, yet can also cut the grime. We strive to use all natural and sustainable ingredients in our soaps, including only what’s necessary to create the product we want. Many of our soaps are herbal based using distilled attars and dried herbs grown on the farm. Ingredients include: Coconut Oil, Pomace Olive Oil, Palm Oil, Shea Butter, Natural Beeswax, Distilled Water, Sodium Hydroxide (Lye), Orange Zest, & Orange Essential Oil.

 


 

Sources:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com

http://www.offthemeathook.com

http://www.commonsensehome.com

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